Wow! We had an amazing time performing at the Windy City Burlesque Festival for the first time! Chicago is an awesome city and the festival is a huge event with 7 total shows!
We arrived early Wednesday and headed over to the Art Institute which is considered one of the very best art museums in the world. It was particularly special to get to see Grant Wood’s iconic “American Gothic” painting since we would be performing our number inspired by that very artwork at the festival in just a few days!
Before the show, we managed to swing by Three Dots and Dash for a transportive tiki experience with amazing drinks, food, and ambiance. We made it to Stage 773 just in time to check in and catch the opening night show! Willy LaQueue from Chicago gave one of our favorite performances of the evening with style, sass, and a ton of stage presence.
We planned to make an early night of it (we had been up since 4AM to catch our plane!), but somehow managed to be some of the last folks to leave the venue. There were just too many performers to catch up with and new friends to make.
Thursday morning we grabbed some brunch and headed to Vaudezilla Studios to rehearse with someone very special – Legend Tiffany Carter! We have been lucky enough to become close to Tiffany over the past few years and we love her so much! She asked us to be part of a group number she developed to John Lennon’s “Imagine,” which expresses her desire for the rest of the world to be as accepting and supportive as the burlesque world.
We had a great rehearsal with Tiffany and the other members of the number. And since one tiki bar is not enough for one trip, we jetted over to Lost Lake for another tropical experience. Fellow Austin performer, Jolie Goodnight and her Chicago bestie joined us for dinner and tiki drinks garnished with banana-shaped dolphins!
The Thursday night show was outstanding! O! Mama gave an extremely powerful performance that stayed with us all week. We are also suckers for Coco Lectric’s Lady Rainicorn number and were thrilled to see Lola Frost perform for the first time. We had another late night making new friends (including the bar staff!) after the show and then we were off to bed!
Friday morning we were back at Stage 773 to teach our workshop, Motivation and Intention in Burlesque Storytelling. It is always exciting to engage with new students and this was a particularly creative group! We managed to sneak back to our room for a quick nap before the whirlwind of the evening, including performing in Tiffany’s number at the 8PM show.
Performing with Tiffany Carter was definitely a highlight of our burlesque career. We couldn’t help but both get emotional while on stage! Tiffany is such a caring, supportive, and positive person and this number really exemplified all of those qualities. Afterwards we headed to the late show to cheer on our hometown performers (Jolie Goodnight, Fat Bottom Cabaret, and Team Incredilove) and be blown away by the force that is…Tigger! His “classic” fan dance/striptease had us losing our minds!
Saturday morning we were at Vaudezilla Studios again for a fabulous workshop with Scratch – Clowning, Communication, and Character Development. We learned a lot about how to use our bodies and gestures to communicate more effectively on stage and got a bonus history lesson on Commedia dell’arte.
Three shows are packed into Saturday night and we were determined to see as many performers as possible! We got to the venue early to get ideal seats for the 8PM Pop Culture show and got to see most of the 10PM Anything Goes show despite having to prepare for our own Midnight show. And we finally got see Tiffany Carter’s cat number!!! She has been telling us about this number since we met in 2010 and it was such a treat to see it on stage.
Maybe we are biased, but the Midnight show was out of sight! Our performance was early in the lineup so we were able to sit back for the remainder of the show. Po’ Chop burned up the stage, Delilah took fan dancing to the next level, Bazuka Joe had us laugh-crying with his puppetry number, and fellow Austinite Bethany Summersizzle’s aerial number with chains (yes, CHAINS!) blew our minds.
Sunday morning we had a lovely brunch with festival producer Red Hot Annie and several of the performers. It was a nice way to wind down, talk about some of our favorite moments of the festival, and drink too many mimosas. We said goodbye to our new friends, but we weren’t quite ready to say goodbye to Chicago yet! We managed to get seats for a Cubs game at Wrigley Field Sunday evening and the Cubs even won – quite an exciting way to wrap up a non-stop, fun-filled week in the Windy City. Thanks so much for having us Chicago and hope to see you again soon!